RIYADH, Jan 27 (Asia Free Press): The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Thailand reestablished diplomatic relations after more than 30 years of the incident when three Saudi diplomats were killed in a mission to recover diamonds stolen by a Saudi prince’s Thai cleaner, according to local media.
During a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha gave “his sincere regrets for the tragic cases that took place in Thailand between 1989 –1990,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
Thai PM told Crown Prince that, “Thailand had exerted utmost efforts to resolve the cases and that it stands ready to bring the cases to the consideration of the competent Thai authorities if new well-founded evidence relating to the cases should emerge”.
Riyadh cut ties with Thailand in 1989 after Kriangkrai Techamong stole diamonds worth $20 million from Prince Faisal bin Fahd al-Saud, the son of King Fahd, and shipped them to Thailand before fleeing.
Techamong sold the diamonds upon arriving in Thailand, and three Saudi diplomats based in Thailand were dispatched to track them down. After, all three of the diplomats were killed in the process, and the perpetrators of the said incident were never found.
Shortly after that, a Saudi businessman named Mohammed al-Ruwaili traveled to Thailand to investigate the theft, but he was also killed and his killer was also never found, and Thai police have never convicted anyone for the four deaths.
In 1994, Mohammed Said Khoja, then-chargé d’affaires at the Saudi embassy in Bangkok said the four Saudi men had been “silenced.”
Later, Thai police accused jeweler Santhi Sithanakan of buying the gems from Techamong and switching them with fakes. Sithanakan’s wife and 14-year-old son were found dead soon after.
During the diplomatic freeze, Saudi Arabia canceled work permits for tens of thousands of Thai migrant workers, the number of Thai workers in Saudi Arabia went from 150,000 to fewer than 10,000 in two years.